The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has called for the urgent and complete reactivation of justice systems, while respecting health and safety measures.
The body says that access to justice has been considerably impacted by social distancing and confinement measures in several European countries.
The right to have a case stated within a reasonable time has also been affected, the CCBE says, and the cancellation and postponement of hearings create ongoing problems.
The CCBE also expects the demand for legal aid to increase significantly.
It says investment in justice is necessary to cope with the increased backlog and demand for judicial decisions.
The CCBE also urges European institutions and member states to provide financial support to those lawyers who have been particularly hit by the crisis.
And emergency measures and legislation to contain the risk of mass infections are a concern, the CCBE says, given the de facto absence of parliamentary monitoring and judicial review.
It urges member states not to abuse such state of emergency provisions or special powers granted to the Executive and wants adequate sunset clauses for such measures.
“The reactivation of justice systems in member states will further contribute to a more regular judicial review of measures taken under such regimes,” the statement concludes.